Steadman Gear List for Critique

Posted by: Steadman

Steadman Gear List for Critique - 10/10/11 04:00 PM

Ladies and Gents, here it goes. This:Google Documents is my gear list.

I think I know what is wrong with it - just doing the exercise was useful, and I can cut 1/4 of a pound just using options from what I weighed (ah, the perils of knives and stuff sacks) - but I'd love to hear from you all what I should out and out replace as time, money, and circumstances permit.

Notice that there are four lists running here... Just me in the summer, Just me in the winter, and what it takes to add each kid. I know I missed things, however the additions at the end of the spreadsheet resulted in fairly accurate final weights, including all the things that were to light for my scale to weigh (accurate to the one ounce for up to 25lbs, not for commercial use).

Thank you very much in advance. Standing by to receive and humbly listen.

Posted by: balzaccom

Re: Steadman Gear List for Critique - 10/10/11 06:54 PM

OK--God bless you. You asked for it.

And before we get into the details, are you sure your Kelty weighs over seven pounds? That seems REALLY high. we have some old Eureka 3800 packs that weigh 50 ounces....and would work just fine. That would drop FOUR POUNDS off your weight.

1. Leatherman. Why? Never found a problem on a backpacking trip that I could solve with a leatherman. Sewing kit, yes, but not a leatherman.

2. That's one heavy FAK. I think ours runs about half that.

3. 6 ounces for wipes? How many IS that?

4. We take one pot, not two. And that stove is heavier than most.

And I think you don't need the extra water containers. We take two 16 ouncers....and make them do for everything.

Add that up, and you would drop a few pounds, I think.

Posted by: Glenn

Re: Steadman Gear List for Critique - 10/10/11 10:29 PM

Hmmm...Before I could recommend changes to your kit, I'd need to know a lot more about your preferred hiking style (do you like to cook pancakes for breakfast, and 3-course suppers, or are you an oatmeal and freezer-bag kind of guy? Do you like a comfortable camp from which to dayhike or fish, or is camp just a place to spend the night?) and where you hike (are there water sources every few miles? Are the uphills and downhills tearing up your knees?)

As you read the following, remember that my comments are filtered through the lenses of my own biases (a minimalist style, in gear and camping style), and that they assume that you want to become a clone of me. My comments also assume cost is not a consideration (you have a large credit limit and aren't afraid to use it.) You may need to calibrate what I say accordingly.

Pack - I'm not familiar with your model, but there have to be lighter ones out there - something from the Osprey Aether series would probably handle your current load, and something from the Kestrel series might handle your smaller, lighter load if you adopted all my other suggestions. You'd save 2 to 4 pounds, probably.

Sleeping pad: Thermarest Prolite or Prolite Plus 48" pads are lighter and just as comfortable as a BA pad; the NeoAir is lighter yet. You can put your new pack, with its foam backpad, under your lower legs for padding. The Prolite Plus is actually warmer than the BA Insulated Air Core pad in winter.

Tools: the Leatherman seems excessive; could you leave it behind and try your Swiss Army knife on a trip to see how it works? (Just remember that, if the scissors and tweezers for your first aid kit were on the Leatherman, you'll need to add a pair of folding scissors and tweezers unless the SAK has them.) Personally, I prefer a small knife (Gerber LST Mini), Coghlan folding scissors, and small tweezers to a SAK; I've always found that gear designed to do several things doesn't do any of them well. I'd also include the E-Lite in the summer kit. A back-up light comes in handy for rummaging around in the pack looking for the headllamp, and for changing batteries in the headlamp in the dark. (They never seem to die during the day, do they?) Finally, what good is a compass without a map? (I'm assuming you just didn't check this box accidentally, and never being one to kick a guy when he was down...)

Your kitchen is tough to comment on without knowing how you like to eat; I'm an oatmeal-and-freeze-dried guy, myself, so I take a single vessel that serves as pot and mug, and eat my food from the bag with a long-handled spoon. Assuming you do the same, I'd suggest a mug like the Titan Kettle, or maybe the Snow Peak Trek 900 or 1100 (which have fry-pan lids that make pretty decent bowls) to replace your 2 pots, cup and bowl. (You could try taking only one pot and your cup, and modifying your style a little bit, if you're not inclined toward my barbarian end of the scale.) If you go the just-add-boiling-water route, you will be able to get by with a 3 or 4 ounce canister stove; one 110g fuel canister, full, weighs no more than your 33-ounce fuel bottle empty. (And I notice you didn't put any weight for stove fuel in your list.) Even if you decide you want/need a white gas stove, the MSR Simmerlite is nearly half a pound lighter than your Dragonfly (which MSR classifies as a base-camp stove.)

Finally, you indicate you carry 2 liters of water; if you find yourself consistently arriving at water sources with more than a liter left, consider eliminating that extra liter and saving 2 pounds. Even if you do need to carry 2 liters, you probably don't need to carry both a 2L and 4L bladder - just take the 4L bladder. If you cut back to carrying only 1 liter, that gives you 3 liters of excess capacity to carry water to an overnight dry camp (2 liters of capacity, if you still normally carry 2 liters.) I've always found 3 liters is enough to get me from the last source in late afternoon to my dry camp, prepare supper and breakfast, and get me to the first water source at mid-morning tomorrow. Of course, that assumes my minimal meal prep style, which involves no water for cleanup (there is none, since I eat from the bag) or for putting a campfire dead out. (I don't light fires; too much like work.)

Overall, not a bad list - there is no right answer; it all depends on what you want for a trip. Hope this helps, but remember it's only what I would do if I were starting with your list. My thoughts, considering my own biases, may be of absolutely no relevance to your needs.

Also remember: if you become a recovering gearaholic, you probably shouldn't choose the owner of the local gear shop to be your sponsor. (Don't ask how I know.) smile
Posted by: Steadman

Re: Steadman Gear List for Critique - 10/10/11 10:30 PM


1) Yes, the pack really weighs about 7lbs. I'll go find a better scale, but the math checks.

2) Leatherman is gone. I kept it in the poor assumtion that it would be useful for stove repairs. It didn't help so much when my pump body cracked, but it was still in the pack this summer blush. The 2oz swiss army knife comes instead.

3) The FAK is getting ripped apart and weighed as its own bag. I don't understand where the weight is coming from here. My earlier article on FAKs was describing THIS kit, so I'm a little miffed at myself. More to follow on seperate thread.

4) I weighed the wipes left over from the last kit with my son. Last 2 kid trip we ran out, and wiped with grape leaves, which won't work here in fall-spring. My daughter just ran through the things.

5) I'm going to one pot, and am going to try to build a cozy bowl out of a zip lock container to rehydrate lipton meals. I'm also starting to experiment with a supercat stove, and want all relevant advice.

6) I'm scarred by my tropical experience with the water containers. I can convert container types and cut a quarter pound. I should probably just cut loose, but the letting go is painful.

Keep it coming.


Posted by: Gershon

Re: Steadman Gear List for Critique - 10/10/11 11:18 PM

My name wouldn't be Gram Cracker if I didn't recommend weighing in grams. It's fun to find just a few you can eliminate without cost.

For instance, your camp towel and handkerchief could be half the size or even 1/4 size.

If you are using wet wipes, consider letting them dry out and rehydrating prior to use (assuming you aren't in a dry camp.)
Don't forget to drill holes in them. (Just kidding.)

Fuel weighs 750 grams/liter. Be sure not to bring a lot too much. If you can cut back, maybe you can get a smaller bottle and save some there. I figure .35 liters/week and I cook a lot.

I use plastic bottles for water instead of a camelback or canteen.

Cut all ropes to minimum size needed and use the thinest ropes you can.

Can you mix drinks in a one gallon ziplock instead of the bottle?

Stuff sacks can be heavy. Maybe replace with plastic bags where possible.

If you are putting your sleeping bag in a plastic bag during the day, maybe you can use it for a bear bag at night.

Don't forget to weigh your wallet, especially if you keep it in your pack. You only need an ID, some cash and a credit/debit card.

If you have to carry directions for the water filter, at least tear out the pages in other languages.

The process gets addicting. Once that happens, you will find your own ways to reduce weight.
Posted by: Jimshaw

Re: Steadman Gear List for Critique - 10/10/11 11:34 PM

5 kinds of flashlights and 28 ounces of first aid with the sunscreen. Is that reasonable? Do you need a 15 ounce shell? On the otherhand do you have warm eough of clothes? Will all people be in one 40 ounce tent? I don't think theres anything really wrong here except for repetition, but then some times I have 4 pairs of gloves...
why does everyone need a leatherman and a monocular?
camp towels too heavy
too many canteens
why a case knife and leathermen?
why do you need a 6 ounce head light, a tikka and a minimag?
your total cook kit is too heavy.
If you practiced "leave out whatever you haven't used for the last 3 camping trips", you could drop these weights into the lightweight zone - below 20 pounds less food and water.
Jim smile
Posted by: Glenn

Re: Steadman Gear List for Critique - 10/10/11 11:41 PM

Wow, Jim, now I don't feel so bad about the liner gloves, GoreTex lightly insulated gloves, and uninsulated down mittens I often carry on a winter trip. (I suppose I could get to 4 if I also counted my spare wool socks as an extra set of mittens, huh?) smile

Gram Cracker: one comment about plastic bags instead of stuff sacks. I've seen a ton of these littering the backcountry. It looks like people tried to fill them too full, and they ripped along the closure. Aside from the ethics of plastic trash in the backcountry, it would seem that an extra supply of plastic bags might be needed for blowouts, which reduces the weight savings (and maybe makes the stuff sack lighter, if the trip is long enough.) Just a thought.
Posted by: Jimshaw

Re: Steadman Gear List for Critique - 10/11/11 12:06 AM

you should add a light pair of fuzzy "sleeping gloves" to your winter gear. Mine are about 3.5 oz and called hot hands. They stay in the top pocket of my pack and used exclusively inside the sleeping bag and are NEVER used for ANYTHING that could get them WET... goodjob Somehow I can't sleep in huge gauntlets (that are most probably wet anyway), and even with goretex mitts shells over liners, the liners still get wet.

I would like to talk about towels. smile In the Hitch Hikers Guide to the Universe a towel is a critical piece of travel gear. If one lacks peril sensitive glasses that immediately turn opaque if one is in peril, sparing one the unecesary fear, one could instead cover your face with your towel. laugh

Now as long as a towel has the minimum dimensions to be put to use skinny dipping if one were to be discovered, and is also large enough to dry your body, however large it is, then minmum size is achieved, but the luxury of a slightly larger nicer towel should not be casually be cast asunder... I have micofiber "hair towels" and I also have bath sized ones, that my mother in law sold so I had a case of them in fact. Anyway I always carry a 1.6 ounce "half hair towel" in the winter. Its used to wipe up everything and is a conponent of my pee bottle configuration. Its a sad but true fact that the male human urinary tract is very twisted because our shark ancesters had their gonads located high in their chests, and since male humans require sex organs more centrally located to be very useful, the tract is very long and comes first up and then over and down. The reason for this discourse is that male humans generally have a few CCs of fluid left in their urinary tract after peeing and a nice small towel is a boon to dry sleeping bags. A towel shold be positioned BEFORE it might be needed. And a soft microfiber towel is much nicer than a pressed piece of dehydrated sponge that some call camping towels.
Jim smile
Posted by: james__12345

Re: Steadman Gear List for Critique - 10/11/11 12:30 AM

I've heard of duck tape being used to reinforce the seams on ziplocks. No idea what that does to the weight in comparison to a stuff sack though.

I'll also second the idea of a pot with a skillet lid that can be used as a bowl.
Posted by: Steadman

Re: Steadman Gear List for Critique - 10/11/11 08:57 AM

I weighed all the flashlights that we might carry... we only carry one/person. I found the different weights, and the weight of a single AA battery, to be interesting.

We only carry one knife. The case knife is a single bladed lockback - I thought it would be lighter than the swiss army knife, and was wrong.

I only carry the one monocular, and that comes in and out of the pack. My son would like his own, because he's a 6 year old boy who likes to have the same toys as his dad.

GLENN: I'm headed towards FBC when I'm by myself. Lipton meals with add ins and oatmeal are staples. If/when we acquire a dehydrator, the entire family will probabaly change over to FBC. However, child happiness right now demands pancakes and mac and cheese when we go as a family, and cleanliness demands we use bowls.
Posted by: Steadman

Re: Steadman Gear List for Critique - 10/11/11 09:07 AM

Oh, I DEFINATELY carry a map... thus the space for it... but they vary by every trip.

I already wrote about food... and I really want the advice here. My kitchen needs work!!

Winter hiking here gets dark quick and early. If I'm coming in on a Friday night, and working in to a campsite, I need a headlamp, and I'm torn between the E-Lite and the T2 from a functionality perspective.

Summer camping, or if I'm stopping before dark, I can almost just get by with the little Princeton LED light. I mean, how much light to I need to get up and go pee?
Posted by: Glenn

Re: Steadman Gear List for Critique - 10/11/11 09:44 AM

To me, the e-Lite was a backup to the normal headlamp. I use a Princeton Tec Scout for main use in camp and such (I like the way the switch fits up under the little plastic tab when I stow it - no accidental turn-ons.) But I also carry a clip on PT Pilot light (not sure they're still available), clipped to my shoulder strap. It's handy for those times you need a little light for a few momemts (like looking inside the pack to find the main light at dusk, or when changing batteries.) And it's big enough to function as a main light if I should lose (and by "lose" I mean "step on") the headlamp. My headlamp, lighter, and filter are the only things I carry backup for (clip light, matches/firesteel, and purifying tablets.)
Posted by: balzaccom

Re: Steadman Gear List for Critique - 10/11/11 10:51 AM

Yeah--I have to admit that we only use a pair of micro-lites. At one point my wife bought a very lightweight battery powered lantern, and we (she!) took it on a couple of trips.

Now it stays home. Didn't get enough use to justify itself.
Posted by: finallyME

Re: Steadman Gear List for Critique - 10/11/11 12:06 PM

If you bring kids, especially girls, then don't worry about how heavy those wipes are. They are worth every ounce, I don't care what anyone says.

Posted by: Steadman

Re: Steadman Gear List for Critique - 10/11/11 10:17 PM

The packtowel has many uses: drying the tent out when it gets wet, drying children and daddy off when they get wet, keeping my sleeping bag from getting wet in the first place (drool). However, a smaller version might make a lot of sense.
Posted by: Glenn

Re: Steadman Gear List for Critique - 10/12/11 09:10 AM

I guess my problem with plastic is the same one Fletcher talks about in connection with his Visqueen tarps: they are disposable, and intended to have a short life span; as a result, they tend to get discarded and left in the backcountry for someone else to haul out (or, worse, for something else to eat.)

On another thread, there's a few postings about using trash bags as pack liners. Same thing: it will eventually hole out. It raises the fundamental question of whether you should go cheap, knowing that you'll run through a bunch of them, or buy the nylon pack liner a few companies sell, which will last as long as the pack itself (and may, in the long run, be cheaper.)

I have no problems with the folks who use these bags and conscientiously pack them out, every time. It's the unnamed folks whose litter I keep packing out that bug the crap out of me.
Posted by: Glenn

Re: Steadman Gear List for Critique - 10/12/11 09:16 AM

It all depends. If you already know where everything is... smile

Actually, I tend to use my headlamp rather than a smaller light for those midnight calls. It's not so much that I need to see to go, it's that I need to see to get there. The small light, pointed at the ground, works fine for my footing. It's my heading that's the problem: little twigs and brush at eye level don't become apparent until I walk into them. I've gotten some nasty scratches that way, so I now opt for more light. I do tend to put my hand over it when I'm near other people's tents, though.
Posted by: Steadman

Re: Steadman Gear List for Critique - 10/13/11 10:18 PM

Glenn/balzacom/Jim/James/Gram Cracker

This is what I came up with:

- I can save 5lbs on a pack for about $200
- I may be able to save a 1/4lb on a Foam pad for $10, but I better bring the scale.
- Still working the first aid kit. At least 7 ounces of savings there if I'm smart. I let some stuff creep into the bag, and the bag itself is heavy...
- I can save .5 ounces if I don't care about declination on my compass (free)
- I can save a pound on the tent (solo) for about $200 (Sublite Sil instead of the Rainshadow 2)
- I can save 3.75lbs by leaving the MSR Dragonfly at home and taking a Supercat stove (almost free)
- I can save 4oz for $40 by buying 2 2L Platypus bottles and leaving the MSR Dromedary 4L behind.
- I can save 11.5 ounces by only carrying my small pot (free)
- I can save about 18 ounces for about $50 by carrying only one pot and buying a Ti pot to replace my small pot.

So I see a path to getting to a 19-20lb base weight, with further savings possible as gear wears out.

The questions are:

1) Do I buy a replacement pack before or after the second tent?
2) If I'm the clan Sherpa for the next 10 years, is the pack something I just deal with (or, at least, if I'm not getting a lot of solo trips, something that I adjust assuming I'm still the Sherpa)?
3) At what temp does an alcohol stove stop being a viable alternative?
4) Can I support cooking for 4-5 people on a Pocket Rocket (or similar) stove?

I don't claim that all of these are answerable questions... but your opinions would be enlightening.

Posted by: oldranger

Re: Steadman Gear List for Critique - 10/13/11 10:45 PM

I have not used my Pocket Rocket for a group of four, but I see no reason why it would not do just fine, within its temperature range. The size of the pot might be an issue, because balancing large (2L plus ) pots on the PR's supports might be a little dicey.
Posted by: Glenn

Re: Steadman Gear List for Critique - 10/14/11 06:52 AM

MSR now makes a nifty little canister stand that pretty well solves the issue of topheavy stoves. The Pocket Rocket with a 2L pot may be a different story: you've only got 3 points of support, and I've read reviews that say they're thin enough that they will deform under a 2+ liter pot of water, leading to collapse. Cooking with a pot larger than 1 liter has me reaching for my Superfly stove and the above canister stand. The Superfly, for a couple extra ounces, has 4 beefy pot supports. It also has a wider flame spread, which I've found is a better solution than the "pinpoint" flame of the PR for wider pots.
Posted by: Glenn

Re: Steadman Gear List for Critique - 10/14/11 06:58 AM

If you're right on the borderline between 2 packs with different capacities, I'd wait until after you have the new tent. However, if there's no doubt about the size of the pack, then I don't think it matters which you get first. In fact, if your present tent will fit in the new pack, I might get it first. You'll save more weight on the pack than you will on the tent.

As far as Sherpa trips: will the new pack be able to handle them (my guess is no)? If not, then you'll have to deal with the old pack for those trips (and, if it's been working OK so far, it should continue to do so.) You might be able to replace it with a pack that is the same carrying capacity, but a pound or so less - not sure it's worth doing; you can save more weight by the other things you've already mentioned.

I can't really speak to the temperature limits of alcohol stoves, as I have very limited warm-weather experience with them.
Posted by: Steadman

Re: Steadman Gear List for Critique - 10/14/11 11:37 AM

I've come to the conclusion that a smaller pack is a lighter pack, so I'm trying to go from about 4500 cubic inches to between 3000 and 3500 cubic inches (the Osprey Talon 44L pack has my eye, but I need to go to a store and load one to see if it would work).

I don't think I'd be able to support children's equipment requirements from that small of a pack, so I think I'd need to keep the big Kelty Super Tioga pack for at least the next decade. Of course, multiplying packs creates household space issues as well.
Posted by: OregonMouse

Re: Steadman Gear List for Critique - 10/14/11 02:30 PM

There's a considerable difference from Sherpa-ing for kids and going out on your own! You're basically going to have to keep the old pack for the former.

Fortunately, as the kids get older, they can carry more. They are also less apt to fall into creeks or lakes so don't need so much spare clothing. Eventually you can ditch the old heavy pack! Of course by that time you'll have trouble keeping up with the kids even with lighter gear!
Posted by: Glenn

Re: Steadman Gear List for Critique - 10/17/11 07:13 AM

"By that time you'll have trouble keeping up with the kids..."

Sounds like a perfect age for teaching them the finer points of rock collecting!
Posted by: finallyME

Re: Steadman Gear List for Critique - 10/17/11 11:46 AM

Originally Posted By Glenn
"By that time you'll have trouble keeping up with the kids..."

Sounds like a perfect age for teaching them the finer points of rock collecting!

Or the finer points of carrying their parents stuff. smile For reference, I have noticed that this happens between 14 and 15. By 16, they just need to carry everything that is yours. wink
Posted by: phat

Re: Steadman Gear List for Critique - 10/28/11 12:38 AM

Originally Posted By Steadman

GLENN: I'm headed towards FBC when I'm by myself. Lipton meals with add ins and oatmeal are staples. If/when we acquire a dehydrator, the entire family will probabaly change over to FBC. However, child happiness right now demands pancakes and mac and cheese when we go as a family, and cleanliness demands we use bowls.

I've never been able to manage Mac and cheese FBC style, but with a small bot, alky stove, and a good pot cozy, follow the "microwave directions" on the box - usually this calls for 1 3/4 cup of water, nuke it, then add the stuff in, no draining. What I do is drop the noodles and that amount of water in, bring to a boil with the alcohol stove. Alcohol goes, out, cozy the whole pot (I'm using a blue foam cozy with tight lid for this) for 20 to 25 minutes or so. don't peek. After that the noodles are fine with a little water left in it for the sauce. in goes some olive oil, cheese mix, and a bit of nido or coffee mate. Try at home first.

Posted by: Steadman

Re: Steadman Gear List for Critique - 10/30/11 04:58 PM

Thanks, I'll give it a shot.